A Teacher's Point of View

I can tell you over again how engaging the DIY Podcast tool is for students. But it is better that you hear it from a teacher who is currently using it. I can give you some of the technical information and an ideal-world view, but we all know that it doesn’t always happen that way in the classroom. So in today’s post I’m including comments from a fifth-grade teacher who has used DIY Podcast with students.

So from the front line, here are comments from Neme Alperstein, one of NASA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer IT Summit’s 2010 OCIO Excellence in Teaching award winners. The award recognizes K-12 educators for the innovative use of technology within their curriculum.

We have had great fun using DIY Podcast. Students used a combination of video clips and NASA photographs to create their own presentations and their “take” on what’s cool and new at NASA. By making video and still images available to students online, the students can be the reporters communicating in “kidspeak” what speaks to them. DIY is 21st-century learning engaging children in learning that is personalized and exciting. Science, writing,communication and technology skills, and interpretation and analysis are just some of the areas in which students hone their skills. Perhaps the best part of it all is the fun and excitement it brings to learning about space science and exploration.

Neme began her DIY Podcast adventures with her students after being involved in NASA and other opportunities that are open to all teachers and students.

We began with content from videoconferencing with NASA’s Digital Learning Network. [We] expanded to a National Geographic/Earthwatch project studying monarch butterflies in Vietnam with a researcher from the U.S. skyping with students while she was in the field observing (and that led to student research and podcasting about their online findings) and [have] continued as students follow experiments on the International Space Station. As students create their own projects (most recently on robotics), video has become an essential means of expression reflecting learning.

You don’t have to buy extra software to build podcasts. Both Mac and Windows machines have software already installed that you can use to begin building podcasts right away. As students become pro podcasters, they may want to ditch software with limited capabilities and begin using applications that will allow them to create studio-quality productions.  

For the 2010-2011 school year, Neme has plans to improve their podcast productions.

We now have flip video camcorders so there will be many more video DIY Podcasts coming up this year. We now have a place to host the videos, which will allow us to create a library of student work!

If you are using or planning to use DIY Podcast, let us know your plans in the comment field. We are not able to post comments with URLs.

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New School Year Resolutions

If you haven’t already, I’m sure you’ll be starting the new school year very soon. Just as January 1 is an ideal time to resolve to do something new, so is the new school year.  Why not make podcasting one of your goals? When your students create podcasts, they are meeting standards across the curriculum with one project. They are also learning and using 21st-century skills.

The DIY Podcast is one of the easiest ways to start podcasting. I have found this to be an easy tool for beginners to use. The audio and video clips are right at your fingertips. You don’t have to record anything new — you can start with what we’ve given you. Add your own touches and post them. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

The DIY Podcast is a great way to engage your students. When they are building their podcasts, they research the subject and they become the experts.  If you want them to add their own videos, they can demonstrate a science principle related to the topic. Plus they are going to want to build the most awesome podcast ever because there is a possibility that people all over the world will download it. Now that’s motivation.

And, come on, how cool is it to create and/or be in a podcast with a NASA engineer, scientist or even an astronaut in space?

So, what’s stopping you from building a podcast? Make a resolution. In upcoming posts, I’ll give you baby step tips on getting started. Happy School Year!

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